Tabloid takes a look at the litter situation on Dubai's streets, parks and beaches during Eid.

The UAE has one of the world's highest levels of domestic waste, which includes the tonnes of litter collected from the city's streets.

To be more specific, Dubai's per capita waste output alone is the world's highest followed by the United States.

Per capita household waste has reached an average annual 735 kilos in Dubai and 730 kilos in Abu Dhabi.

This compares to an average 710 kilos in the US, in Australia 690 kilos and 300 kilos in the United Kingdom.

Tabloid takes a look at the litter situation across Dubai's streets, parks and beaches.

How you dispose of litter is something we are all taught from a very early age.

We know it harms the environment if we don't put our litter in the bin, and yet some people in Dubai seem incapable of actually doing it.

At a park in Satwa on Thursday a large majority of the area was covered in plastic cups, newspapers and empty bottles.

With the masses off work for the day perhaps we expect the amount of litter on the streets and in public places to increase somewhat.

But to that extent?

In the small park area adjacent to the Satwa Bus Station, we counted more than 16 rubbish bins, almost all of which were empty.

There must have been an estimated 100 people in the area and yet you could not turn your head without being greeted by dozens of white plastic cups.

So why couldn't the offenders simply walk one or two steps to a nearby bin? Why just throw them on the ground, in the shrubbery and among the flower beds?

I guess we'll never know the answer. Maybe it's an education issue or maybe it's a culture thing.

Spotless beach

And yet on the same afternoon, at the public beach along from the Dubai Marine Club, more than 2,000 gathered to meet family and friends and without a discarded bottle, cup or plastic bag in sight.

The beach looked almost spottless and even the occasional piece of litter which could be seen, was soon picked up by one of the litter pickers.

A lifeguard at the beach said the sand is usually cleaned twice a day but during public holidays litter pickers were employed to sweep the sands at least once every hour.

Dubai Municipality has this year enhanced its beach cleaning operations by adding four Beach Cleaning Machines to the existing machines operated by its Environment Department.

Hassan Makki, Assistant Director of Environment Department and Head of Waste Services Section at the municipality, said they got the machines in a bid to keep the city's beaches cleaner and safer.

"Beach cleaning machines are used to remove debris and litter from public beaches. The machines are basically mechanical raking devices which are towed by tractor and capable of removing even small litter such as cigarette butts," he said.

Mechanical cleaning of beaches is a fast and effective method of removing litter and debris from beaches.

Large areas can be covered in a relatively short time using beach cleaning machines, thus providing and effective and economical alternative to manual cleaning of beaches.

All public beaches are subject to a cleaning service. The frequency of cleaning depends on factors such as the usage of the beach and the incidence of litter and debris.

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Makki also emphasised that the purchase of these machines comes as part of the larger quest to improve the quality of cleaning and waste collection services in the emirate.

In recent years the department has also co-ordinated with suppliers to incorporate custom features into some categories of vehicles and equipment and has endeavoured to purchase versatile machines which have a wider service range.

Cleaning strength

The department operates a very large and specialised fleet of over 350 vehicles and machines.

The fleet includes Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs) and machines required for street cleaning such as Vacuum Assisted Sweepers.

There are also exclusive tankers for washing refuse bins and even one to remove tenacious dirt such as chewing gum stains and graffiti from surfaces and pavements.

Refuse comes from street litter, gardens and from the waste dumped in the sea and on beaches.

This has imposed a heavy burden on the municipalities, which launched the Keep Dubai Clean initiative in a bid to encourage people to use litter bins across the emirate.

But even then, chiefs are still left with the task of what to do with all the rubbish.

The problem is only partly solved by converting organic waste into agricultural fertiliser.

Some waste such as paper, glass and tin cans can be recycled, and special incinerators have been set up to dispose of medical waste.

In Abu Dhabi waste is at present being stored and disposed of in Al Dhafra, 70 kilometres away from the capital.

The municipality has a large plant in the area for disposing of non-organic and hazardous wastes. A new modern landfill is under construction at Mussafah.

Radioactive waste

Meanwhile, the disposal of radioactive waste has also attracted attention.

A new law will ensure supervision and inspection of all activities involving the use of radioactive elements or equipment.

It will ban import, export, transport, storage, manufacture or sale of any radioactive elements without official permission from a special department for radiation control to be established at the Ministry of Health.

The law was under discussion with representatives from the ministries of Electricity and Water, Interior and Justice in addition to the Federal Environment Agency.

Representatives from all municipalities, the UAE University, the WHO and the IAEA also attended the discussions.

Plastic grocery bags, soft-drink cans and paper are rarely recycled.

One municipal official says he is amazed how expatriates change when they land in Dubai.

Concerned about Dubai's dubious distinction as the world's largest generator of waste, the municipality developed a campaign in 1997 to reduce rubbish. Unfortunately, it failed spectacularly.

The campaign was dubbed Target 555 and hoped to bring down the garba